Read Part 1 of Catie and Daniel’s Honeymoon in Australia here.
Auckland in August is not exactly the stereotypical honeymoon locale. No Mai Tais, no bathing suits, and plenty of rain. But even if Catie and Daniel Johnson didn’t choose the best month to visit New Zealand, they discovered you can still have a fun and romantic honeymoon in this chilly spot.
But it helps if you’re prepared.
“The weather in the winter is just like Seattle,” Catie said. “Cool, rainy, overcast with nice breaks of sun here and there. Bring a rain coat!”
It also helped in Catie’s case that she grew up in Seattle, so the stormy weather felt like home.
“Personally, I liked Auckland because it really reminded me of Seattle — the topography, the types of restaurants, the coffee, down to the weather,” she said. “We went in August which is winter there so it rained nearly the whole time, which I did not like. But, it’s a very easy city to navigate if you’re OK with walking hills.
So what does one do in a hilly, Seattle-like city when it’s raining? Plenty.
“We took a ferry and climbed to the top of Rangitoto Island, which is a volcanic island off the coast of Auckland and explored the lava caves on the island,” Catie said.
Even though it was raining in Rangitoto, the couple said they enjoyed hiking through the nature reserve, which was (not surprisingly) uncrowded that day. The lava tubes were a nice break from the rain, albeit a bit eerie since they can be dark.
On another excursion, Catie and Daniel ferried over to Devonport.
“It’s this great little artistic town with good restaurants,” Daniel added. “You can hike to the peak of the city and see the bay and Auckland.”
And if you happen to visit Devonport on a warmer day, you can take advantage of the beaches there.
The couple also explored Auckland itself, and when the weather got too bad they headed for the movie theater, or to the pub.
“New Zealand was hosting the rugby World Cup the year we went (in 2010), so there was a lot of rugby stuff around and it was cool to go to the pubs and watch the matches,” said Daniel, who played rugby in college.
“And the pub food was very good, I had an amazing Shepherd’s Pie,” Catie added.
Speaking of food, Auckland and nearby Devonport had plenty of options for the couple.
“My favorite meal was at Manuka in Devonport,” Catie said. “I had an order of New Zealand mussels and chips. When I ordered it, the server warned me that the mussels in New Zealand are ‘bigger’ than in the States. Ummm … yeah … they are like razor clams! HUGE. But delicious.”
Daniel enjoyed trying the lamb in New Zealand (it’s famous for it), but his favorite meal was actually at UK chain restaurant Wagamama.
“Since Catie and I have both lived in London, it was a nice, familiar, comforting meal,” Daniel said. “I always order the chicken katsu curry and Catie always gets the spicy miso ramen. It’s really good.”
Are good food and plentiful pubs enough to warrant a honeymoon in Auckland? Sort of.
“I would not go to Auckland on its own,” Catie said. “It’s a nice city but three days was enough for us. I would recommend doing Auckland, which is in the north, combined with visiting the southern part of the country (which the couple didn’t get to see). I would also recommend combining it with Australia as well like we did, since you’re already traveling so far away, you want to make it worth the trip.”
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